New cancer data: 5 takeaways from Canada’s latest report

A quarter-century of data on cancer is now available in a report jointly released Tuesday by the Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada and Public Health Canada.

Cancer Statistics Canada’s 2022 special report on cancer prevalence sheds light on the most common forms of cancer over the 25 years from 1994 to 2018, as well as the populations most likely to be diagnosed. best guess.

As the number of people living with cancer, or living after cancer, in Canada increases, so will the need for cancer care and support.

According to Jeff Latimer, general manager of Statistics Canada’s division of health statistics, the report aims to help identify gaps in healthcare and cancer care, and offer some clues about what to do. resources can be allocated to fill those gaps.

“Timely and accurate data on cancer prevalence in Canada is critical to understanding the magnitude of the impact this disease has on our society and health care systems,” said Latimer. me,” Latimer said in a media release released Tuesday.

“The data is invaluable in assessing cancer outcomes, measuring how far we’ve come, and identifying areas for improvement.” explores some of the key findings from the report below.

All of the following rates are per 100,000 people, over a 25-year period, unless otherwise noted. The report does not include data for Quebec.


Reproductive and colorectal cancers are the most common across Canada, by a wide margin, according to the report.

Between 1994 and 2018, breast cancer accounted for 19.4% of all diagnoses, while prostate cancer accounted for 17.8% and colorectal cancer for 11.3%.

Melanoma accounts for 5.5% of diagnoses, thyroid cancer 5%, bladder cancer 4.6%, non-Hodgkin lymphoma 4.5%, uterine cancer 4.4% , lung and bronchial cancer accounted for 4.1%, kidney and renal pelvis cancer 3.2% and all other cancers 20.2%.


According to the study, most people – 60.9% – have cancer or are living after cancer between 5 and 25 years from being diagnosed. This time period accounts for the majority of people who have been diagnosed with breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.

Another 20.7% for 2 to 5 years, and 18.4% for 0 to 2 years.

Among those with lung and bronchial cancer, 37.5% lived 0 to 2 years after diagnosis, 37.1% aged 5 to 25 years, and 25.4% 2 to 5 years.

According to the report, the first few years after diagnosis are when patients are most likely to be receiving primary cancer treatment or recovering from its effects.

The third to fifth year after diagnosis is a period that often requires close clinical follow-up to detect recurrent disease or another primary cancer, as well as supportive care, the report states. “.

“People who are alive more than 5 years after their cancer diagnosis are likely to have completed their course of treatment, but some people may still need clinical monitoring and supportive care.”


During the two- and five-year study periods, all cancers were generally more common in rural areas than in urban areas.

This is the case in all provinces and territories, except Nunavut, where the entire population is considered rural, and Manitoba, where prevalence is equal.

One factor driving this urban-rural divide is age, the report says, as rural Canadians are generally older than those living in urban areas, and cancer diagnoses are higher in the United States. Elderly.

The report said cancer risk factors “such as smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity” were also more common among people living in rural areas than among those in urban areas.


From 1994 to 2018, cancer rates were highest in the eastern provinces and Ontario, and generally lower in the central and western provinces.

Specifically, cancer prevalence is highest in Newfoundland and Labrador, followed by New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, in that order. Quebec is not included.

For urban and rural rates, the authors report that differences in age distribution, risk factors, and diagnoses influenced rates in each province.


The study found that the national cancer rate per 100,000 population increased gradually over 25 years, from 1994 to 2018. However, the authors attribute the increase to an aging population, as well as cancer screening and treatment. Better yet, both increase survival rates on some types of cancer.

The report did not consider environmental factors that may contribute to cancer rates and outcomes, such as exposure to known carcinogens, and indicates the national data needed to understand more about those factors in Canada as “limited or lacking”.

The report concludes: “Together, the cancer control community is working to address these important data and knowledge gaps so that we can better identify the disparities in outcomes that require asking for increased attention and investment,” the report concludes.

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